Tag Archives: sanding

Master bedroom makeover: Moving in

I started writing this post a week ago, almost to the hour… and then big things happened and this blogging and renovating and home decor part of my world fell out the bottom. I think I might start hauling it back up… but no promises I won’t drop it again!

Because in the whole scheme of things it is the last thing that matters, BUT I’ve come to realise too that these small and unimportant things can be the things that help when the big and important things get to be too much sometimes. I was picking up mess around the house yesterday afternoon and realised that if there’s one thing that might possibly keep me able to function if my world flipped it would be having my house in order. When kids are yelling, the phone is ringing, the dinner is boiling over and there’s a whole host of things spinning in my head, the first thing I’ll do (apart from making sure the kids are yelling over nothing!) is tidy. Then, and only then will I answer the phone and try to save the dinner and write myself a priority list (all at the same time, because if my house is tidy I can do everything!).

So, with that… back to last week:

I feel lots of things writing this post. Relief is the big one though!

After three months of living across the hallway in a room that every member of our family has now called theirs for a time, it feels truly amazing to be back in our room to stay. Last time, we’d nearly finished painting the walls. That was a big step in progress for me. It made me feel like we were really getting there!


But then there were the windows. We grabbed our opportunity on a Saturday about 3 weeks ago. There was 14% chance of rain. But this is Auckland in July, so that was pretty good! We took it.


Now this week… In the early afternoon we could see the rain was coming and the freezing temperatures weren’t helping the paint dry very quickly. So we taped up some plastic drop sheets over the gaping holes and filled the room with windows. Then began a few days of tedious top coats, and a few nights of lying awake in fear of the temporary windows giving in to the stormy weather (yep we picked the worst days of winter for this!) and flying off to cause an accident somewhere in the next suburb over. This is how it was for me at least. Andre had no trouble sleeping!



The storm died down, we finished painting and scraping, and on a dark and peaceful night we had real windows back up again! Following that we had a little floor touching up to do, where the old wardrobe framing had been. We gave it a quick sand and some coats of high gloss poly. (Our preference would be a Low VOC sealer like we used when we redid the whole floor in the kids room, but they don’t appear to come in high gloss to match the rest of the house.)


Once we put up the blinds, curtain rods and our sheer curtains, we moved on in!

Let me open the door…

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I won’t even begin to list all that still needs doing or replacing – in terms of furnishing and decorating we’re at about 8%. I’ll save that for another day, along with sharing some of the details like where we found a door handle to match the others in our house, the wall lights we found and made over, and the obvious “what are we doing about a wardrobe?!”.

Because right now, I’ve got something to be doing about that wardrobe situation… and a house to tidy!

Have a lovely weekend x

Master bedroom makeover: Painting progress

Total silence from me in no way means nothing is happening ’round here!

It’s all happening, just as fast as it can. Sometimes I get frustrated that it’s not fast enough… but for various reasons of work, weather and a weekend off, this coming weekend will be the first in six that we get more than a couple of hours to hit this master bedroom renovation.

I’m hoping for some dry weather so we can remove the windows for sanding and painting. But if we don’t get that, there are plenty of little things like putting outlet covers back on, installing some “new” wall lights, and planning and possibly materials shopping for the wardrobe.

But first, here’s a mass photo drop of our plastering and painting progress to date.

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Have a lovely weekend x

A colourful past

One of the things I love about having a many times over pre-loved house is that there’s always stories to be found. Every hole left in the wall by a picture hook… every scuff mark on the door frame… every scratch in the floorboards… and every coat of paint on the walls tells a story that only the house knows. We, as current inhabitants, can only guess at the life this house has seen.

After tearing out the garden below one of the front bedrooms, and laying some pavers for a patio area, we were left with baseboard in need of a repaint to match the rest of the house. But first… sanding.0321_6638

Craving some sense of personal achievement I sent Andre out with the kids to pick up some paint for this, and the gate, while I donned a mask, goggles and earmuffs and got to it. It’s best to take the safe option at times like this where there are multiple layers of paint, and you know some of them were applied prior to days of lead free paints, and assume you’re dealing with the nasty stuff. Hence the mask and goggles, and sending the kids well out of the way. I also made sure I cleaned myself up well once I was done.0321_6645

This is what I was dealing with… icky flaky bits that weren’t going to be helpful in holding onto the latest layer of paint.0321_6653

With rain on the way and the kids due back at any moment I got schmoozing all the flaky bits away. Aaaahh much better!0321_6654

I love how it looks like a world map… and I bet this house has stories to tell that would compete with those of a world traveller! If only walls could talk. And if only my sanding efforts didn’t have me dashing to the phsyio 48hrs later.

Stripping the man…


Saturday saw us picking up a manrobe (among other adventures) which we purchased for a bargain price of $67 on Trade Me. I was convinced it would go for over $150 and left Andre to bid up to that amount (it closed at 11pm – I was well in bed by then!) so I was delighted when he told me (at around 4am after feeding session number lost count) we won it, and for so much less than I thought it would get to.

While the littlies were sleeping and he had to keep away from the power tools Andre went to pick it up.

I was glad to see that all it needed was a going-over with the sander and then a spit and polish to have it looking lovely but still character-worn. Having had a saved search going on Trade Me for one of these things for the kids room for months now, I was super keen to get stuck into it.

So I did. I handed over the baby monitor to Andre, got my dust mask and safety glasses on and got to work.

First up I dismantled the handles, which proved to be a little more time-consuming than I would have thought, and the first three all came off in varying combinations of handle pieces. I decided I’d better grab a bag to collect all the bits in.

There wasn’t a close up of the handles on the Trade Me listing, so I wasn’t entirely sure what they were like, but thought I could easily replace them if I didn’t like them so it was hardly a deal-breaker. But Andre really likes them and I quite like them, so I think they’ll stay. They’re also quite nice to “handle” which is one of those little details that make such a difference when you’re battling to get a toddler dressed!

As mentioned, they all came apart in different ways. This was the one that stayed together, but most others had the handle part in a few more pieces than the one you see here!

Note: I need to spruce up the handles and their hardware a bit (they’re a little tarnished and rusted) so any advice on a simple way to do so would be appreciated!

Once all the hardware was secured in its bag I got onto the real job of sanding Mr Manrobe. (Power tools were allowed for me at this point because I was working in the back yard, not right outside the little ones windows where Andre was halfway through installing an irrigation system in our new garden.)

No progress shots on this as I was hard at work and too filthy to pick up the camera. Besides, I was having fun! Here though you can see where I got to with the orbital sander, and the top level has been cleaned off, and the bottom level still covered in sanding dust. Once I cleaned up the rest of it I got to work with some sandpaper and got the edges (see below how there are still dark bits, with varnish on them) and all the fiddly corners done too.

By this time it was cooling off (you can feel it in the blue-ness of the photo above!) and the little ones were both up and “helping” (Master W) or watching (Miss E) so I was glad to be finishing up and heading inside.

I was so pleased with myself though for getting stuck in and completing the sanding job within hours of Andre picking it up! Not many things happen quite like that around here, as you’ll well know if you’ve been reading my vague and unfulfilled promises of “I’ll have some finished photos for you real soon!” for a while.

I’d hate to disappoint you though so you can count on it being at least 3 more months until I get back to this project and varnish it and get those handles back on (even handles take months around here)!

Anyway, here’s the stripped manrobe in all it’s glory (sitting on our concrete back lawn in all its glory):

Anyone else get to stripping (furniture only please…) last weekend? Or have plans for it this weekend? I haven’t put ideas in your head now have I?!


Sweet satin

Well just like in this post, I can say again that the floor is done!

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with sanding, filling, more sanding, sealing, sanding, etc etc the floor has been officially announced as finished.

Here’s some progress shots:

You can see in the above photo that we sealed the floor with Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K. Originally we had been sealing the touch up patches, and started to finally seal the whole floor with a standard polyurethane. But after enduring the fumes for a few days we had second thoughts about using such a product in a kids bedroom.

Even after the odour has gone, toxic fumes are still given off. I believe it can take years for this process to happen.

We looked into various natural oil products, which are completely free of toxins, but their cost is a little on the horrendous side, so we compromised with this very low VOC (volatile organic compounds ie. nasty things) urethane from Resene.

The cost was along the lines of standard polyurethane, and it was able to be applied over the existing polyurethane (after a light sanding). Some natural products would have required us to completely sand the existing sealer off and start with bare timber. This in itself would have meant a whole lot of toxic dust swirling all over the house and ideally with a toddler and a newborn we would have had to move out for the duration.

To give you an idea, a standard polyurethane rates around 900 VOC, but Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K is just 38 VOC. The difference is immediately apparent in the low odour during application, and a couple of days after the last application, I opened the door this morning and just got a slight whiff. We have kept the window open and the door shut to air the room out, and will leave it that way for another week before we move little mister in.

The only natural product we were able to find with a gloss finish was a two part system, which didn’t excite us in the least, and it was expensive. Most natural products, and all truly natural products are matt, or satin finish. The rest of our floors have a gloss finish, but with years of wear and tear they are in reality more of a satin finish now, so the new floor doesn’t look at all out of place.

Take another look (I did focus, it’s just hard to see where!):

Living the quiet life with a newborn

If you asked me last week if I was looking forward to some quiet time when our baby comes I would have looked at you sideways, actually make that upside-down.

But, that’s just what this week as been for our little family of four after the arrival of our little girl early in the week!

Here’s a wee peek at our precious poppet…as you know I don’t tend to put photos of my kids on here (when the time comes, they can carve their own little space on the internet and I don’t want to ruin it for them in the meantime) so take a good look at her!

We’ve been home for a couple of days, and while the sleepless nights are coming back to haunt us we are loving being home all together (although I am dreading Daddy going back to work and leaving me to go it alone as a mum of two).

While I’m just concentrating on feeding, sleeping and personal hygiene for all my family, Andre has been busy with odd jobs and toddler entertainment (which conveniently enough can often be combined when you have a boy who loves pottering around with tools).

Here’s the current job list (as written up on this project of ol’ times):

And a few things that have already come off the list (bring on the long weekend and let’s get them all off!)…

Sanding, sweeping, varnishing, repeat… again… and again… and again… Poor Andre is so over the floor in the new bedroom but it’s very nearly there and I love it despite it’s patchiness (see here for just how much it means to me!):

I find it very encouraging to look back to see just how far this room has come.

Five months ago we came home from Sydney to this:

Then three months ago we cosied up this space for our little ones:

And two months ago we had it lined, plastered and spent every day sanding and vacuuming:

Next on the to do list for this room is to replace the door with the extra sidelight that came off our french doors way back when we shifted them from here:

To here (it’s a bit hard to see but above there are the doors, folded open, and sidelights on both sides, but below we removed one of the sidelights when we shifted them to replace the ranchslider, which left us with a spare):

Then we need to add trim and do a whole lot of painting. Then comes the fun part of decorating (that’s where I get to make up for lost time and create a nursery for my kids which will make up for them both beginning life in a barely personalised corner of our bedroom) and the long awaited move in! I’m currently on the hunt for a largeish, multicolour,  round rag rug – any suggestions?

We also took a trip back to get some more of these handles from the Timber Recycling Company on Archers Rd in Wairau Park, and in a fossick through some other bits and pieces we found a new latch for our bathroom door. The old one was a bit dodgy in that when you were inside the bathroom and slid the latch across, you thought you were well secure and could happily take your time, but I doubt any of our unsuspecting visitors ever figured out that you could still open the door because the hole in the door frame had come away on the outside.

So once Andre dealt with that false latch he installed this relic of old public toilets (I missed all opportunity for progress shots as I was ensconced with newborn and spill cloth on the sofa):

From the other side, as I’m sure you can imagine, it looks like this:

And the bit that took the longest was to make this catch for the door frame, which didn’t come with the bits we purchased. When we get around to painting the door frame, we’ll just paint over the hardware too, so in the meantime we’ll just have to live with the messiness of it.

Now that I’ve mentioned these blissful quiet days I may well have jinxed it and you won’t hear from me for some time! We’ll see…

Containing plaster dust

The latest plastering and sanding job has gone relatively smoothly (excuse the pun), not least because I wasn’t involved this time! But even Mr commented that it didn’t seem so bad this time as last time and I am very impressed at how little dust has found it’s way beyond the four walls of the new bedroom despite not sealing off the doorway or anything. It seems plaster dust is quite heavy and clingy and not liable to blow through the millimetres under the door. We can be very thankful for that.

It’s also not caused too many tantrums from the little one not being allowed into the “noo bedroom” – he certainly knows what dust is and has accepted the “too dusty” reason.

Here is one corner as of 3 weeks ago:

And yesterday it was my job to clean up this:

You can see above how we’ve boxed in around the hot water cylinder. I’m the first to admit it’s not an ideal addition to the corner of the room and it certainly encroaches on the window, but we had no option besides going down the expensive route of getting consent to shift the cylinder. I think once we add some storage shelves to the right and a nice, tidy window treatment it will look a little more like making sense.

More dust:

This is the internal door wedged shut with a stanley knife of all things. At this stage the original exterior door is still in place as it is very useful for all the ins and outs of plaster dust covered people and tools. Once we’re done cleaning up in here it’ll be replaced with the spare sidelight from the french doors and access will only be via the internal door off the hallway.

Needless to say my first attempt at cleanup didn’t seem to make a dent in the dust despite collecting half a bucket of the stuff. I might have another go at it tonight and then snap an “after” shot or two.

Still to do in this room (post clean up) is:

  • sanding all patched bits of flooring (not a small job as it will involve some grinding of concrete – more on that when we get to it)
  • add trim
  • replace exterior door with window
  • paint, paint, paint
  • install downlights
  • install curtains
  • add door handle

So the goal of end of November is well out… by Christmas – probably not happening either… post Christmas and holiday but before baby – fingers crossed!

A snowy Auckland evening

Felt like snow in Auckland the other night. It looked like it too at our place…

We now know why everyone said “oh gib stopping is such a terrible job… get someone else to do it”.

But with such a small area to do it didn’t seem worth paying a whole lot of minimum charge to someone else. In hindsight, maybe it would have been worth it (that’s if they clean up the mess afterwards too?).

One less than perfect job later though and we can say it’s done! And another skill up the man’s sleeve.